FM: No peace in ME sans resolving Palestinian issue

UNITED NATIONS (APP): Reaffirming its full support to the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination and against foreign occupation, Pakistan Monday urged the international community to help them establish an independent State of their own with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital.
“The festering wound of Israeli occupation and atrocities in occupied Palestine is the principal source of instability, tensions and conflict in the entire Middle East,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told a meeting of OIC’s Committee of Six on Palestine, which was held on the margins of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
“To bring peace and stability to the Middle East, the issue of Palestine – the source of the region’s insecurity and its multiple conflicts – must be effectively addressed as the first and most urgent priority,” he added. The OIC Committee of Six on Palestine comprises the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Senegal, Malaysia, and Guinea plus the OIC secretary general, with the Palestinian Authority’s top diplomat as its sixth member.
At the outset, FM Bilawal strongly condemned Israel’s continued killing and wounding of Palestinian civilians, including children; violation of the sanctity of the holy places, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the forcible displacement of Palestinian families; and the brazen murder of the Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Aqleh. As the Chairman of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, he said, Pakistan remains ready to join hands with other member states in any move to stop the ongoing bloodshed, and restore the human dignity and human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. The foreign minister said all necessary steps must be taken to stop the ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people, including the following:
The international community must protect the suffering Palestinians, and should urgently take concerted actions to stop Israeli atrocities against civilian population; Attempts to create a false equivalence between Israel, the aggressor, and Palestinians, the victims, are inexcusable and, as the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah, the OIC should work in unity to dispel this deceptive perception; Appropriate accountability mechanisms should be created to seek justice against Israel’s violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva and the other human rights Conventions; and, The establishment of a sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestinian State, within recognized and accepted pre-1967 boundaries with Al Quds al Sharif as its capital offers the only solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and a peace process to achieve this objective must be revived.
In conclusion, FM Bilawal reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle to secure legitimate rights, particularly their inalienable right to self-determination.
Pakistan urges OIC to push for appointment of UN envoy on fast-growing Islamophobia: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Monday urged the OIC to approach the UN Secretary-General to appoint a special envoy – or at least a focal person – on Islamophobia, which, he said, had reached an alarming level worldwide, especially in Europe.
“What is most worrisome is that Islamophobia continues to find strong resonance in political spheres in Europe, ultimately leading to the institutionalization of Islamophobia through new legislations and policies such as discriminatory travel bans and visa restrictions,” the foreign minister told a meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Muslims in Europe held on the sidelines of UN General Assembly’s 77th session.
The UN General Assembly last year adopted the landmark resolution, introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
“The momentum generated by this resolution should be maintained,” FM Bilawal said.
“Today, one of the worst manifestations of such Islamophobia is in Hindutva-inspired India,” he said, adding, “Driven by the ideology of hate against Muslims, the (ruling) BJP-RSS regime is executing its century-old plan to obliterate India’s Islamic legacy and to transform India into an exclusive Hindu state.” Noting that the rise in hate crimes against the Muslims in Europe are well documented, FM Bilawal said, “The gender aspect of Islamophobia is also gaining prominence, with Muslim girls and women being targeted due to mode of their dress and the general notion that Muslim women are oppressed and thus must be ‘liberated’.”
In this regard, he proposed: OIC needs to further strengthen the OIC observatory to monitor all such incidents of discrimination and hate crimes in Europe and other parts of the world; OIC should call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe to establish an observatory to monitor acts of religious hatred, hostility and violence against Muslims, and report regularly to the relevant policy organisations; OIC should urge the UN secretary-general to appoint a special envoy or at least a focal person on Islamophobia, and, the OIC member states, within the framework of their bilateral relations with European countries, should raise the challenges facing Muslims and make specific efforts to help in addressing those challenges.